Moroney, Dearing run for Senate seat

Published 12:06 am Saturday, February 28, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story as originally published contained incorrect information. Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, has a challenger in the election for the Mississippi House of Representatives District 97 seat. Kitty Sasser of Summit qualified as a Democratic candidate in the race. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight.

NATCHEZ — The race for Mississippi Senate District 37 will see a rematch of the 2011 race that unseated a long-time legislator, but will also include a third Adams County candidate who is otherwise a political outsider.

Qualifying for state district offices closed Friday.

In addition to the incumbent senator and Kingston-area resident Melanie Sojourner and Natchez resident and former senator Bob M. Dearing, Natchez resident Curtis Moroney has qualified to run for the District 37 seat.

Meadville Mayor Lane Reed and Etta Bateaste-Taplin of Ruth are also contending in the election. Moroney, Reed and Sojourner have all qualified as Republicans.

Dearing — who held the seat from 1980 until 2011, when he lost to Sojourner — has qualified as a Democrat, as has Bateaste-Taplin.

Dearing had confirmed he was considering running for his old seat early in the qualifying period, but said he only came to a final decision about the race last weekend.

“I have prayed about this for several months, and had a lot of discussions with my family on it, and I feel like having represented the district for a lot of years that I can still be a valuable tool for southwest Mississippi in the Mississippi State Senate,” Dearing said.

“I would look forward to serving again. I still have a lot of friends in the Senate and contacts in Jackson, and I look forward to renewing those friendships and contacts. I miss serving — there is no doubt about that.”

While Sojourner had previously announced her re-election bid, Moroney’s qualification earlier this week had not been previously publicly promoted.

Moroney said Friday he had considered running for office and had been promoted by others to run previously, but until recently his work did not allow him to consider it because he could not give it his full attention. Moroney is now working as an independent, self-employed computer and technology consultant.

“With the current flexibility in my professional life, it was something I could do, and I was approached by several people about the possibility of running,” he said.

“A lot of (my motivation) was my desire to be involved, to help and to do something real and meaningful, and so many people seemed to be excited about the prospect of me doing that.

“Whoever wins this election is responsible to a whole lot of folks over four counties, and the magnitude of that is pretty big. The actions of a state legislator, whether a state senate or representative, affects a whole lot of folks, potentially for a long time.”

The 37th district represents portions of Adams, Amite, Franklin and Pike counties.

An Adams County candidate has also qualified to run for the District 38 Senate race.

Natchezian Angela Baker Brooks has qualified for the District 38 seat, which is being vacated by Kelvin Butler as he runs for Pike County Chancery Clerk. Brooks qualified as a Democrat, as have Tammy Felder Witherspoon and Albert Eubanks, both of McComb, and Gregory Harris and Daryl L. Porter Jr., both of Summit.

Brooks could not be reached for comment Friday.

A single Republican candidate, Dennis C. Qunn, of Pike County, has qualified to run for the District 38 seat.

District 38 contains portions of Adams, Amite, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties.

Kitty Sasser of Summit has qualified to run against District 97 Rep. Sam Mims (R-McComb).

No challengers qualified to run against District 94 Rep. Robert Johnson III (D-Natchez) or District 96 Rep. Angela Cockerham (D-Magnolia).

District 6 District Attorney Ronnie Harper was also unchallenged.